On September 21, CONNECT2Careers (C2C) invited funders, employers, partners, elected officials and program participants to celebrate the accomplishments of summer 2016. This special event highlighted this year’s progress so far and outlined the vision for the future of C2C and youth employment in San Diego County.
As of the event, C2C had registered 2,818 young people, trained 2,424 and placed 543 in paid work experiences. The program now operates year round and has just over 3 months to hit its 1,000 year-end placement goal. This year, they have seen incredible growth in the number of youth served through online resources, workshops, hiring events and community partnerships, with training numbers alone increasing 4-fold over last year.
C2C works closely with the County and City of San Diego, funded partners, school districts, businesses and a network of youth advocates and other stakeholders to increase the number, quality and diversity of opportunities for young people in San Diego County. Here are a few highlights new this year:
In January, Mayor Kevin Faulconer called on businesses to offer jobs and paid internships, job shadows, and other creative ways to connect 16 to 24-year-olds to exciting careers in San Diego. As a partner of One San Diego 100, C2C is working diligently to place 1,000 young people by the end of the year.
Through C2C’s School Break Externship program, high school and college students from underserved households experience short, foundational, paid work opportunities that happen over their winter and spring breaks. These experiences are designed to set students up for success when looking for a summer job and eventually paving a full-time career path.
Working closely with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), C2C updated their financial literacy resources. This relationship also resulted in a partnership with Mission Federal Credit Union, which allows students, even those under 18, to create accounts in their own name. Because of these efforts, C2C was asked to be a part of a CFPB leadership committee to share best practices across the nation.
In addition to this great work, the number of C2C peer job coaches grew this year from four to ten. This team is the “secret sauce” of C2C’s success, pairing up participants with coaches their own age who have recently been in the same situations. It’s all about relatability — participants often describe this relationship as “a friend helping me get a job.”
As C2C’s summer season wraps up, the program shows no signs of slowing down. Beginning next week, a pilot program with San Diego County is placing fifty students in 6-week paid internships in departments from East County to Oceanside. Additionally, C2C is currently recruiting both youth and employers for a second year of school break externships. Also in the works, a training initiative that will provide résumé workshops to San Diego Unified School District high school sophomores through the end of this year.